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Round 12 Sunday wrap: Bears claim the battle of the heavyweights

Burleigh have leapfrogged the Wynnum Manly Seagulls on the Hostplus Cup ladder, after the Bears took out the heavyweight battle at BMD Kougari Oval.

Heading into Round 12 - the midway point of the 2024 season - the Seagulls were leading the competition with the Bears sitting in fourth, just two points behind their rivals.

But - after a loss in Round 11 - Burleigh were not heading back down the M1 without a win, notching up a 28-14 victory.

With Josh Rogers back from NRL duties into the No.6 jersey, Bears coach Luke Burt felt his side's attack clicked, after they fell short against Redcliffe Dolphins last week.

It was also only the second time this season that the Bears have had their first-choice spine, after fullback Creedence Toia missed the first seven weeks through injury.

"I was really happy with our response to last week," he said.

"We attacked not up to our standard last week. To put together some shape this week was really good.

"I was really happy with our spine. Our one, six, seven and nine really controlled the game and a special mention also to our three middles who set the tone. (Lock Sam) Coster was ridiculous.

"We always planned to have the spine we rolled out today and they haven’t put too many games together so to get some games back-to-back from here would be really handy and kickstart the back half of our season off."

Toia in action. Photo: Dylan Parker/QRL
Toia in action. Photo: Dylan Parker/QRL

The Bears got on the board quickly against the Seagulls, scoring three tries in the opening 12 minutes through wingers Nicholas O'Meley and Troy Leo, and prop Bailey Butler.

Wynnum Manly hit back through the middle 20 minutes, with tries to Cory Paix and Jonathon Reuben, but a number of chances went begging for the home side, with Burt impressed by the defensive grit of the Bears.

"We knew Wynnum Manly would come back at some stage and regain momentum and they did just that," he said.

"To restrict Wynnum to three tries - one from dummy-half and off a kick as well - it was the most pleasing thing, especially against the competition leaders."

O'Meley bagged a second try in the 53rd minute while Guy Hamilton and Hayden Schwass scored once each, with both tries worthy of a highlight reel.

Justin Frain scored Wynnum Manly's last try in the 74th minute.

The Bears now sit in third on the Hostplus Cup ladder while Seagulls have slipped to fourth. Norths Devils and Northern Pride are placed first and second respectively following byes for both teams this weekend.

Wynnum Manly will now turn their attention to the Brisbane Tigers next Saturday while the Bears face another big challenge when they take on the Pride in Cairns.

From the Dolphins to the Seagulls and now to the Pride, Burleigh know they're having a big run at the moment but hope it will set them up well for the back half of the season.

"It shows us where we’re at but we’re also battle-hardened with playing these teams," he said.

"A lot of the time these teams have been at full-strength with an NRL complement back for them so it's been a test for us.

"Pride have had a fantastic year and playing really good, entertaining football so it will be a super tough match again."

For a wrap of the Saturday matches in Round 12, click here.

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Main image: Josh Rogers. Photo: Dylan Parker/QRL

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